There is no reliable way to make money quickly. If there were, everyone would be doing it. Get-rich-quick schemes are just that: schemes. Sure, it’s possible to get lucky at a casino, or to make a well-timed stock pick, but these feats are the exception, not the rule. They generally are not reproducible.

An AskMetafilter user recently pleaded for some hot stock tips.

Where online do you go to find “best buys” about new and hot stocks? I’m thinking of investing a little scratch in ye ol’ stock market, and was wondering if [you] could point me to some good online sources for stock buying recommendations. Last time I invested, I based my purchase on a little sidebar I read in Business 2.0… doubled my money and pulled out. That’s what I’m looking for, only online.

Fortunately, the other users set him straight. One recommended Slate‘s The Complete Guide to Wall Street Self-Defense. Another recommended The Big Picture (a financial markets blog). This was the best response:

There are plenty of tips floating around on the internet, but they are all put there by pumpers — people who buy low, get suckers to buy in on thinly traded stocks, then when the price goes up, they get out. Sometimes they short the stock and talk it down — bashing. If you don’t believe me, try it for a while and within a few months you’ll be getting notices from lawyers about class-action suits.

I make regular good money on the market, but whenever anyone asks me, I tell them to run, don’t walk, away from it unless they are willing to make a serious commitment in time and study. I use Investor’s Business Daily for ideas, and do a lot of technical analysis on stockcharts.com. But I spend about 2-4 hours a day, plus full time on weekends, researching.

I happen to like it but for most people it’s a sucker’s market. Especially right now. Better to set up a regular allotment into a simple family of low-cost mutual funds like Vanguard. Trust me.

Excellent advice.

We all want to be rich. And we all want to be rich now. This isn’t going to happen. It’s far more sensible to spend your time, money, and energy researching the tried-and-trued methods of acquiring wealth. Start young. Know your risk tolerance. Save as much as you can. Reduce your spending. Increase your income. If you do these things, you will grow rich. It just won’t happen overnight.